Thursday, May 5, 2016

Kingdom Series: What is the Kingdom of God/Heaven?

Dear in Christ,

Have you come across Christian preachers who cannot give you a definite definition of the Kingdom of God? I have. A vast majority of Christian preachers, some who have been preaching for 30 or even 40 years, cannot even define the concept of the Kingdom of God. This is despite the fact that the gospel is of the Kingdom!
Mat 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
You cannot be preaching the gospel of the Kingdom if you don't know what the Kingdom is. This series is an attempt at revealing what the Kingdom is and what it is not.

Some of the easiest, popular and near perfect definitions of the Kingdom of God are:
Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Holy Spirit)
1Co 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
Apart from these passages, there are quite a few passages that associate or equate the Kingdom with the Holy Spirit and power.
Mat 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Jesus associated casting out of devils by the Spirit of God with the coming of the Kingdom of God.
Mar 9:1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.
We can go on and on pointing out passages that associate the Kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit and Power, but one of the most striking one should be from the book of Acts. Before his ascension Jesus said his disciples:
Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Please read from Acts 1:4)
Anyone who is familiar with the scriptures would know that Jesus was talking about the empowerment of the apostles that had to happen on the day of Pentecost. Again it is commonly known how the apostles manifested the power after they received the Holy Spirit, by healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out the demons and so on. At one point people even sought the handkerchieves and other accessories of apostle Paul so that the dead could be raised and sick could be healed:
Act 19:12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
This was in fulfillment of what Jesus promised them in Acts 1:8 and also many other sayings of Jesus.
Joh 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
By the end of Jesus ministry, he may have been having less than a thousand followers. But, on the day of the Pentecost and on the days following, many thousands joined the way! (Acts 24:14)

In a nutshell, the Kingdom of God / Heaven is the working of the Holy Spirit in the minds and lives of the followers of Christ.

The power of the Holy Spirit is not restricted to performing miracles or speaking in tongue or healing the sick. 

It was not people speaking in unknown tongues that drew thousands of people to Christ on the first Pentecost. It was the apostles' exposition of the Word of God and the ministry of Christ that changed the minds of the people. While the disciples spoke in tongues, the response of the people was:
"They are filled with new wine." (Acts 2:13)
Whereas, while Peter explained the ministry and role of Jesus Christ to them their response was positive.
Act 2:37 Now when they heard this (the exposition made by Peter) they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"
It's not speaking in tongue or performing miracles that changes the hearts of the people. It is the testimony about Jesus Christ that changes them. If you really seek to draw people to Christ, learn the scriptures and reveal Christ to people.

Next: a Kingdom that yields fruits.
In Christ,
Tomsan Kattackal